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New Dogs on the Block

By Jake Watts

PLL Analyst

Jun 9, 2020

Waterdogs LC has assembled a roster that can compete for a championship year one. Here is who the expansion club added this offseason. 

Additions

Expansion Draft: 

  1. Connor Kelly - Midfield
  2. Christian Cuccinello - Attack
  3. Brodie Merrill - Defense
  4. Charlie Cipriano - Goalie
  5. Ben Reeves - Attack
  6. Kyle McClancy - Midfield
  7. Kieran McArdle - Attack
  8. Brian Karalunas - Defense
  9. Ben McIntosh - Midfield
  10. Drew Snider - Midfield
  11. Ryan Drenner - Attack
  12. Noah Richard - LSM
  13. Steven DeNapoli - Midfield
  14. Wes Berg - Midfield
  15. Chris Sabia - Defense
  16. Ryan Conrad - Midfield
  17. Dan Eipp - Midfield
  18. Drew Simoneau - Faceoff

Entry Draft: Zach Currier, Ryland Rees

College Draft: Matt Deluca

Waivers: BJ Grill, Patrick Foley, Dylan Johnson, Tate Boyce, Reed Junkin

Interchangeability

Versatility is an overused word so I thought I would change it up. Coach Copelan has assembled a roster that is flexible at every position. The offense is designed more as six short sticks rather than three attackmen and three midfielders. Each player selected has the skill set to dodge from several areas of the field. More importantly, the athletes are competent enough to stay on defense and not be a liability for the team. 

The team identity started with the number one overall pick in the expansion draft, Connor Kelly. It’s not fair to peg Kelly with a position label. Rather he is more of a creator and Initiator. The hybrid offensive player has a quick first step, is two-handed, and can attack from below and above the cage. He will be the team’s party starter and create all sorts of havoc for opponents.

Staying with the theme, the dogs selected Drew Snider to run alongside Kelly. Snider is a veteran with a championship pedigree. The former full-time short-stick d-mid has transitioned into an elite, well-rounded, professional lacrosse player. Drew Smooth is the type of middie that can stay on for multiple runs and make game-winning plays. Here is an example of him playing safety and picking off the pass in the middle of the field.

Side note: Ryan Drenner is also a Waterdog and cans the game-winner. Drenner had 4 game-winning goals last year, most in the PLL. 

Like the offense, the defensive players selected can contribute all over the field. Brodie Merril was the first pole selected. His resume speaks for itself. His veteran leadership and lacrosse IQ will help create cohesiveness. The next two poles picked were Brian Karalunas and Noah Richard. Two players that can create transition opportunities. Both are studs off the wing on faceoffs. Richard finished second in GBs off the wing (14) behind the notorious vacuum, Chrome LC LSM Joel White. 

Coach Copelan further cemented his roster strategy with the number one pick in the entry draft. Waterdogs LC selected the ultimate lacrosse player in Zach Currier. There is literally nothing he can’t do on the field. Definition of a swiss army knife. Currier will be a future MVP of the PLL.

Abundance at a Limited Position

Waterdogs LC has a good problem. They have 4 keepers that are starter worthy. The first goalie they selected was Charlie Cipriano, the former netminder for Copelan at Fairfield University. Later they acquired Tate Boyce and Reed Junkin off waivers and finally they selected the 6'6'' Matt Deluca in the second round of the college draft. The problem is that they will have to choose which two they are taking to the championship series. Cipriano seems like the only lock. The others will have to wait for that joyous or disappointing phone call.

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